We aim to change the way people experiencing multiple and complex needs are supported. We believe they should be able to easily access appropriate services when they need to, for as long as they need to. We believe their voices should be heard, and they should inform the support available to them.

Mental Health Services; barriers & success

The View from Nottingham City.

What works and what doesn't in mental health services? We asked our Beneficiaries and the professionals who support them.

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Stop the stigma

Stop the Stigma. See The Person. Show Support.

In this short film, Opportunity Nottingham Expert Citizens talk openly and candidly about their experiences of stigma.

They consider the negativity stigma can create, and the damage it can do.

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Addressing stigma

A Notts TV Short Film

Two Opportunity Nottingham Expert Citizens talk about the impact of stigma. This is a challenge they experience every day, and it can have a significant impact on their recovery.

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Latest news

Referral Closure - from 21 Dec 2018

From Friday 21st December 2018, Opportunity Nottingham will be unable to accept new referrals for a limited period of time. This decision has been taken due to unprecedented demand for the service, reflective of the current national picture of reduced services and continued austerity. The length of time for which referrals onto the project will be on-hold is yet to be determined.  The process for making and accepting referrals is...

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System change challenge - join in!

People facing complex needs also have to navigate a complex system. In response, Opportunity Nottingham has identified five key challenges - that if addressed - could result in a system that works for service users not against them. This challenge is for all organisations working with people facing complex needs in Nottingham City. It aims to provide a legacy far beyond the life of Opportunity Nottingham, which is funded until June...

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Annual Event 2018

Our 2018 Annual Event took place on Thursday 15th November. Further information can be found here. Some of the presentations from the event are downloadable on the links below. The film at the bottom of this page is the West Yorkshire - Finding Independence (WY-FI) presentation which considers peer mentoring. Fulfilling Lives Islington and Camden (FLIC) also presented on the day, exploring the idea of trust between a mentee and a frontline worker vs. a Peer Mentor. It was clear that trust can be more easily developed with...

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A Midway-point Project Report

Opportunity Nottingham is funded until June 2022. Now four years in to project delivery, there are extensive learnings and insights available regarding both what works and what doesn't; within a very complicated system. The midway report titled Multiple needs: meeting the challenge can be downloaded in full on the link at the bottom of this page, or read via the project findings page. It is split into three sections; The Beneficiary...

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System change plan 2018-22

Opportunity Nottingham commenced delivery in July 2014, and is funded until June 2022. 2018 marks the midway point of project delivery, and in response to this, some key pieces of work have taken place; A midway (year four) evaluation review, resulting in the report Multiple needs: meeting the challenge. A review of the 2015 - 2018 system change plan. This review has resulted in a new system change plan (this can be downloaded...

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Annual Event - 15th November

Thank you to everyone who attended this event. Event slides will be added to the news section of the website soon. In 2018, our Annual Event will take place on Thursday 15th November. For the first time, it will be a full day event, and include a choice of workshops in the afternoon. Multiple Needs and Mental Health - Meeting the Challenge System Change is about changing the whole multiple needs system rather than the traditional...

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NPS - The Mamba Issue

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) were previously known as 'legal highs', as these substances were once sold in shops and online legally. However, in May 2016 the Psychoactive Substances Act came into force, which 'makes it an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, possess on custodial premises, import or export psychoactive substances; that is, any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect. The maximum sentence will be 7 years' imprisonment.' ...

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The Impact of Stigma

Stigma and the impact of it, is a key challenge for Opportunity Nottingham Beneficiaries. Being judged again and again can lead to negative thoughts, depression, anxiety, fear, shame and perhaps most significantly - a person can start to believe the views of others. Stigma is a difficult challenge to address. It is part of the culture we live in; a part of people's make up. It is not something that can be 'fixed' overnight. Indeed, it will take many years to see changes in the way people perceive individuals facing...

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The Role of an Expert Citizen

Expert Citizens are Beneficiaries of the project. A Beneficiary can join the Expert Citizen Group (ECG) when they feel ready to do so, and a conversation will usually take place with their Personal Development Coordinator (PDC) and a Beneficiary Ambassador to arrange this. The Beneficiary Ambassadors run the ECG, and each bring lived experience to their role. They facilitate the group, providing opportunities to participate in anything...

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The 'Hamster Wheel' of Homelessness

The cycle of prison - homelessness - prison is all too common. Lee, one of our Expert Citizens describes this cycle as the 'Hamster Wheel of Homelessness', a process that does little to help a person trying to move forward and address their needs... Our Peer Researchers have recently completed some research regarding the impact of prison on mental health and homelessness. The findings will be published shortly and a link...

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A Parliamentary Debate

On Monday 2nd July, Lilian Greenwood MP raised our recently published report on persistent rough sleeping in Parliament. The report was discussed within the context of the National Rough Sleeping Strategy, and the hope that the report findings will feed into this. More information on this strategy can be found here.   Nigel Adams MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government) acknowledged the content of the report, and advised Officials had noted it with interest,...

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The Co-production Approach

Co-production is about working together, taking risks together, being responsible together, and solving problems together. We are one of 12 Big Lottery-funded projects across the UK, supporting people experiencing multiple and complex needs, and aiming to change 'the system' to improve their lives. You can find out more here. A key priority for each project approach is co-production. We work with people who have experience of multiple...

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Is Homelessness a choice?

Graham Bowpitt, Reader in Social Policy at Nottingham Trent University and our External Evaluator, has recently written two articles on homelessness. The first article challenges the notion that homelessness is a choice, and the second considers how Politicians can help to ensure people do not die on the streets. In considering the idea of homelessness as a choice, Graham argues that austerity measures in recent years mean that people have minimal options when faced with life on the streets. Our recent report, Persistent...

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National Experts

In late February, Rob Eagle (Beneficiary Ambassador) and Expert Citizen (Sara), attended the National Expert Citizen Group (NECG) Meeting. The meeting began with updates on activities that Expert Citizens had been involved with. These included giving evidence about domestic violence and abuse to an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), feedback on the Homelessness Reduction Act and also priorities in mental health care. Sara spoke about attending the Social Media Exchange on 5th February 2018 (delivered by Sounddelivery) and her...

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A Meeting with the DHSC and DWP

Our Beneficiary Ambassadors, and some of our Expert Citizens recently met with a representative from the Department of Health and Social Care, and also the Department for Work and Pensions. The purpose of the meeting was to understand how people might be better supported to find work, and also to identify some of the key challenges being faced. The Expert Citizens provided excellent feedback, citing numerous challenges and...

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Persistent Rough Sleeping

Last year, we commissioned a piece of research in conjunction with our lead Partner Framework. Conducted by Graham Bowpitt from Nottingham Trent University, the research considers the reasons for persistent rough sleeping within Nottingham City. Both the Summary Report  and Full Report can be viewed by clicking the links below. The research considered in the report, suggests that persistent rough sleepers (people who sleep...

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Fulfilling Lives Programme

Opportunity Nottingham is one of 12 projects across the UK under the Fulfilling Lives Programme. The project is made possible by Big Lottery funding from the National Lottery Fund. Information about all of the projects can be found here. In late 2017, the Big Lottery Fund hosted an Annual Conference for the Programme. Speakers included Mark Brown (Development Director at Social Spider), Jacob Botham (Greater Manchester Combined Authority),...

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PDU - Housing First Event

The Practice Development Unit (PDU) is a partnership between Opportunity Nottingham and NCVS. The main hub will be an online platform (due for launch in early 2018) which will include key papers, research and information. There will also be an on-going programme of events, seminars and learning sessions. The PDU will enable those working in the context of multiple and complex needs to share learnings and best practice. If you have any questions about the PDU please email pdu@nottinghamcvs.co.uk. Spaces now available on the...

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Christmas Celebration!

On Thursday 14th December, we held a Christmas Party for our Beneficiaries. Organised by Personal Development Coordinator Colette, with support from other members of the Opportunity Nottingham Team, the party was great fun! From lots of food, to a tombola, to massages; and mug decorating, to cake decorating and making Christmas decorations, everyone was in the festive spirit. One of our Expert Citizens played the part of Santa, and Beneficiary Ambassador Sandra was a Christmas Elf! It was excellent to see so many of our Beneficiaries...

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The Power of Performance

In 2014, Nottingham Playhouse approached one of our Partners, SEA (Services for Empowerment and Advocacy), regarding access to the theatre for people experiencing homelessness. The Playhouse Team wanted to show that theatre is accessible to everyone, and SEA was on-board immediately. Working together, SEA and Nottingham Playhouse explored the idea of a project that would enable people experiencing complex needs (it was agreed to incorporate all complex needs not just homelessness), to participate in a piece of work performed within...

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Stop the Stigma

Stop the stigma. See the person. Show support.  During a recent storytelling training session, some of our Expert Citizens participated in a short film about stigma (you can watch the film below). They each talk openly about stigma, and the impact of stigma on their recovery. There is also a slightly longer version of this film available (with a fifth Expert Citizen also talking about his experiences). This version is for use at training events only and not for online purposes. If you would like to use either version of...

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Storytelling Training

Our Expert Citizens recently attended two storytelling workshops with Sounddelivery. The aim of each workshop was to explore techniques around storytelling, and to empower each Expert Citizen to tell their story. During the first workshop we explored photography, blogging and video. Some of our Beneficiary Ambassadors, and other members of the Opportunity Nottingham Team also participated in the training. At the start of the session, there was some nervousness and concern at the concept of being in the 'public eye.' However...

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Annual Event Presentations

Our 2017 Annual Event took place on Friday 20th October. Further information can be found here.  All of the presentations from our 2017 Annual Event are downloadable below. If you require more information, or further context to any of the presentations, please email us at enquiries@opportunitynottingham.co.uk in the first instance.  We would like to thank our Partners for presenting on the day, national body MEAM, and also...

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The PDU

The Practice Development Unit (PDU) is a Partnership between Opportunity Nottingham and Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service. It is a learning and information resource for workers (at all levels) supporting people experiencing multiple and complex needs* within Nottingham. The unit 'hub' will be an online platform which will be launched in March 2018. This platform will host documents, publications and papers in relation to various Work Streams, which for launch will include: Psychologically Informed Approaches Novel...

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2017 Annual Event

Thank you to everyone who attended this event. The presentation slides are now available here. On Friday 20th October 2017, we will be hosting our annual project event at Nottingham Conference Centre (NG1 4BU). Following on from our Opportunity Nottingham – Two Years On Learning Event (see video below), this event will offer those working within the context of multiple and complex needs key insights for the future. Titled Changing the System. Challenging Stigma, we will be considering the MCN landscape within...

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The National Agenda

MEAM (Making Every Adult Matter) is a coalition made up of Clinks, Homeless Link and Mind. They work to ensure that in every local area, people experiencing multiple needs are supported by effective, coordinated services; and empowered to tackle their problems and reach their full potential. Their recently released report MULTIPLE NEEDS Time for political leadership will be taken to all parts of Government over the coming months. MEAM staff will discuss the four key steps outlined in the report, and will also be meeting with policy-makers...

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PDU Workshop - PIE

This workshop has now taken place.  The Practice Development Unit (PDU) is a partnership between Opportunity Nottingham and NCVS. The main hub will be an online platform (due for launch in early 2018) which will include key papers, research and information. There will also be an on-going programme of events, seminars and training sessions. The PDU will enable those working in the context of multiple and complex needs to share learnings and best practice. If you have any questions about the PDU please email pdu@nottinghamcvs.co.uk. Spaces...

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Peer Research

Some of our Expert Citizens (along with other service-users) recently attended an event on Peer Research.  Members of staff from Opportunity Nottingham, Opportunity and Change and Money Sorted delivered the event and explored ideas around the following: What is a peer? What is research? What should we research? The ideas and thoughts of the group were captured and can be seen in the three word cloud documents below. After the event, some of our Expert Citizens showed an interest in training to be a Peer Researcher....

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PIE ALS. Book now!

This ALS in now fully booked. Following two successful Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) Action Learning Sets (ALS), our third PIE ALS will commence on Wednesday 13th September. Places are limited, and we are now looking for two nominations from organisations who would like to participate.  As this is a group learning activity, participants will need to attend all of the sessions to support group reflection and learning. Why attend?  Help your service or organisation work more creatively and constructively...

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A Visit from Crisis

Crisis is the national charity for homeless people. It has existed for 50 years, and has helped many thousands of people out of homelessness, whilst continuously campaigning for change. A current key piece of work is 'A Plan to End Homelessness.' At the recent Ending Homelessness Conference (hosted by Crisis), Beneficiary Ambassadors Sandra and Deonne arranged for a member of the Crisis Team to visit Opportunity Nottingham to obtain ideas and feedback to inform this plan. Francesca Albanese (Research Manager at Crisis)...

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Public Help

On Monday 17th July 2017 at approximately midday, one of our Beneficiaries fell ill and collapsed on Mansfield Road in Nottingham. Fortunately his Personal Development Coordinator (PDC) was present at the time, and life saving support was immediately carried out. The role of a PDC is extensive. A bespoke wrap-around service is delivered for each Beneficary, and regular (often daily) contact is in place. Everything is considered from food shopping to hospital appointments, and managing bills to accessing detox programmes. Support...

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The 'Small' Things

Our core project aims are system change and enabling those facing multiple and complex needs to live fulfilled lives. When presenting findings and looking for outcomes that could prove fundamental to changes in the way the system works, we often focus on the 'big' things such as significant cost-savings or key trends. But... for our Beneficiaries, a very small change can mean a very significant step forward. Our Personal Development Coordinators will reflect on such changes with each of their Beneficiaries, highlighting and...

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Eid al-Fitr

Some of our Beneficiaries have recently celebrated Eid, an important religious holiday that marks the end of 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting, as part of the Islamic holy month of fasting. A key part of our project is to provide bespoke support for our Beneficiaries including a focus on wellbeing, values and beliefs. Our Personal Development Coordinators wanted to ensure that Beneficiaries hoping to celebrate Eid were able to do so, despite their current circumstances. It was agreed the best approach was to prepare...

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Wellbeing and Purpose

When a Beneficiary initially joins Opportunity Nottingham, they are facing a high level of risk. Their multiple needs will include at least three of the following four; homelessness, substance misuse, offending and mental ill health. Focus is given to these needs and a plan is put in place to support recovery. However, as they progress on their journey towards recovery, it can be the 'small' things, or practical support that can really make a difference. This type of support is not often found within the current and past system...

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Job Vacancy!

Please note - this job vacancy has now closed. We have recently awarded a contract to Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS) for the delivery of the Practice Development Unit (PDU). This unit will be a learning and information resource for those working within the context of multiple and complex needs across Nottingham City. It will inlcude an online platform, and various traning courses and events will also be delivered as part of the PDU. NCVS is now looking for the right person to coordinate the development...

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Crisis Conference

On Thursday 20th April, Beneficiary Ambassadors Sandra Morgan and Deonne Peters attended the Ending Homelessness Conference, hosted by homeless charity, Crisis. The agenda included an overview of the Homelessness Reduction Bill, the potential role of Housing First, and Government plans for ending homelessness. Speakers included The Rt Hon Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and Dr Sam Tsemberis, Founder of Pathways to Housing. Both Sandra and Deonne described the day as rewarding and inspirational....

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Data Sharing

One of our core project aims is system change. During the lifetime of the project, we hope to drive a shift in the way services supporting people facing multiple needs work. One essential element of system change is the sharing of service-user data. This will enable a more cohesive approach, and ensure that workers across all services can understand the full journey of the service-user, and their care/treatment to date. This information will allow workers to make informed decisions and also mean that service-users do not have to tell...

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Alcohol Panel

The Opportunity Nottingham project is represented at the Nottingham City Alcohol Panel, with Beneficiary Ambassador Lee and at least two Expert Citizens attending on an on-going basis. The Panel meets monthly, and considers the challenges facing people experiencing alcohol misuse in Nottingham City. Our Expert Citizens provide valuable input based on their lived experience, giving views on the way services work and reflecting on where the system 'fell down' for them. A number of initiatives are being explored at present, and Beneficiary...

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Expert Citizen Input (2)

Earlier this year, Beneficiary Ambassador Lee, and one of our Expert Citizens (Paul) attended a follow-up meeting in London as part of the National Expert Citizens Group. They had previously attended an event in Manchester with the theme 'engaging with those that are hardest to engage' and the London follow-up meeting involved responses to this theme. Lee and Paul were part of a group considering ways to reach women Beneficiaries. At the follow up meeting this group performed a short piece of theatre to highlight the issues...

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Facts About Me

When working with a person facing multiple needs, inevitably the focus is on the negative aspects of their life. Questions will be asked of their substance misuse; how much are they drinking, what drugs are they taking? Conversations will take place around offending; do they have any convictions, have they been in prison? An assessment of mental health needs will be carried out; do they need medication, are they in crisis? And finally, discussions will take place regarding housing and trying to find suitable accommodation. But...

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The PIE Approach

Psychological and mental health problems affect most people with multiple and complex needs, and often these are linked to traumatic experiences in their past. There is growing evidence that for agencies supporting people with multiple needs, working in a 'psychologically informed' way will achieve better outcomes. A psychologically informed approach is referred to as PIE (Psychologically Informed Environments). This approach takes account of the psychological make-up; the thinking, personalities...

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Training Invite

Now fully booked - please register your interest for future dates! We are now accepting attendee nominations for our next PIE Action Learning Set; Working Towards a Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE). A Psychologically Informed Environment is one that takes into account the psychological make-up. It considers the thinking, personalities and past experience of participants in the way it operates. It's an approach to supporting people, in particular those who have experienced complex trauma or have...

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Women's Day

International Women's Day (IWD) takes place on Wednesday 8th March. The day focuses on achieving better outcomes for women, and the need to create a more gender inclusive world. The World Economic Forum predicts that the gender gap won't close entirely until 2186, so there is a lot of work to be done! For IWD 2017 the theme is #BeBoldForChange, and we are supporting this campaign through our work with women Beneficiaries. Currently 26% of our Beneficiaries are women. They are all facing at least three of the following...

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Invite to Tender

This contract has now been awarded to Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS). We have a tender opportunity for a Practice Development Unit (PDU) Coordinator. The Practice Development Unit  (PDU) will be a cross sector network of agencies who work with people who have multiple needs and who have agreed to work together to develop and disseminate good practice and learning. The role of the provider will be to develop and coordinate this network. The PDU will support the implementation of Opportunity Nottingham's...

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A National Impact

As part of our work on system change, we are invited to participate in consultations at a local and national level. We also pro-actively comment, feedback and respond to open consultations and key work within the area of multiple and complex needs. In 2016, we submitted feedback for NICE Guidelines (NG58): Coexisting severe mental illness and substance misuse: community health and social care services. As a result of our feedback certain sections of the guidelines have been directly impacted, notably: ensuring that people with...

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Expert Citizen Input (1)

In November 2016, our Beneficiary Ambassadors and some of our Expert Citizens attended a National Expert Citizens Group meeting in Manchester. The theme of the day was 'engaging with those that are hardest to engage' and the agenda was highly interactive. The majority of attendees had lived experience of multiple needs, with representatives from all of the Fulfilling Lives Programmes (Supporting People with Multiple Needs) projects across the UK. All attendees were asked to prepare some work prior to the meeting, and they could...

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Christmas Party!

In early December, we held a Christmas Party at the Nottinghamshire Deaf Society for our Beneficiaries. We had a range of festive food on offer, and a variety of fun and free festive activities including; mug painting, card making, cake decorating and of course a Christmas Tombola! Santa even made an appearance (in the form of our Beneficiary Ambassador Sandra), and there were free massages on offer for everyone too. In total 30 of our Beneficiaries attended the party; this is the highest attendance at a...

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University Presentation

On Wednesday 30th November, some of the Opportunity Nottingham Team delivered a presentation/workshop at The University of Birmingham. The audience included a mix of local practitioners, Birmingham University students, and students from their partner university, The University of Melbourne. The half-day session was titled Engagement  - why bother? and considered the involvement of Beneficiaries in service development. Students were given background to the Opportunity Nottingham project including the aims of the project, and provided...

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The role of a PDC

Opportunity Nottingham Personal Development Coordinators (PDCs) provide a very high level of support for Beneficiaries of the project. This support is tailored to each Beneficiary, and involves working with specialist services and partner agencies around the four project criteria.  The working approach of each PDC is Beneficiary led at all times, and building trust and providing consistency in a chaotic lifestyle are essential. Long-term goals are also set with each Beneficiary and our PDCs try to make these as realistic and achievable...

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Female Focus

The current percentage of women Beneficiaries on our project is 24%. Whilst all of our Personal Development Coordinators work with women Beneficiaries, our Domestic  Violence and Abuse Lead (Justine Sadler) has a specific remit within this area. Justine works with other organisations in Nottingham City, participating in projects and providing feedback regarding ways of working with, and supporting women Beneficiaries. She has recently been involved in a pilot project looking at wrap-around support for women with complex needs...

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